As you’ve likely heard, the northwestern state of Oregon has become increasingly liberal in recent years. But like many Democratic-held states, not everyone in the state has the same political tendencies. Just as Chicago gives its state of Illinois Democratic power, Oregon’s western coastline does the same.
However, the rest of the state, by enlarge, feels vastly different. And at least five counties on the state’s eastern border with Idaho are making plans for change as a result.
No, they aren’t demanding that their voices be heard or that liberally-controlled state legislatures led by Democratic state Governor Kate Brown put an end to the ongoing lockdowns – although that would be nice too.
Instead, they are simply asking to leave the state altogether and join Idaho.
According to the Idaho Statesman, the five counties could vote as early as May to secede from their current state and join the much more conservative one to their east.
Grant, Sherman, and Malheur counties have already passed the legitimate signature threshold needed to put the question on their ballot. And Baker and Lake counties are nearly there. All that remains is for the required threshold of signatures to be verified.
The pro-secession movement is being pushed by The Greater Idaho Project, who, according to The News-Review in Roseburg, Oregon, feels that “swaths of conservative, pro-Trump, anti-tax voters” who reside in the eastern portion of the state have lost their voice in their government.
For years, they have tried to regain that voice, but as the state’s western coast and cities like Portland continue to move leftward in politics, the chances of that happening have only decreased.
The Greater Idaho Project’s president, Mike McCarter, says, “Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values. We tried voting those legislators out, but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This is our last resort.”
McCarter says that the group’s goal is to turn 22 out of 36 counties – basically everything outside of the state’s liberal Willamette Valley – to join Idaho in the near future. And according to him, it shouldn’t be that hard to convince them.
As he and the group’s website purport, such a move would be a “win-win” for both Democrat and Republican, Oregon and Idaho.
For conservatives in the state, joining Idaho has numerous benefits.
“Idaho is the state with the 8th smallest tax burden, and Oregon ranks 33rd. Combining all taxes together, including sales tax, the average Idahoan pays $1722 less in taxes per year than the average Oregonian.” As a result, the cost of living in Oregon is 39 percent higher than in Idaho. And if liberals continue to lack the “willingness to control spending,” as the website expects tax rates will only increase.
Additionally, Idaho has taken a much harder stance on hard drug use and rioting. “Idaho enforces the law against rioters, forest fire arsonists, and other criminals. Idaho protects citizens,” the website says.
And for Idaho, its population and “economies of scale” would increase drastically, particularly since most counties considering secession have a “slightly higher than average income than Idaho.”
So what do Democrats get?
Well, all those Republicans and pro-Trumpers they go on and on about being evil won’t be any of their concern anymore. Their new state borders will primarily include only those who feel as they do about politics, giving their party an even greater seniority in legislative bodies and allowing them to beat out Washington State in terms of liberalness.
And before you ask, no, this doesn’t mean that Republicans will get any more of a vote in our nation’s capital. As the group’s website notes, “The effect on the electoral college would only be one elector out of 538, or less than 0.2%, and wouldn’t take effect until 2032.”
Plus, what the Willamette Valley currently gives in funding to these typically less prosperous conservative counties can be kept for themselves in the future.
However, all these positives don’t necessarily mean it’s as good as done. While the verification of signatures is likely to go through, state legislatures for both Oregon and Idaho and the US Congress will need to approve of the change in state borders.
But as McCarter says, “Divisions in Oregon are getting dangerous, so we see the relocation of the border as a way to keep the peace. It’s not divisive. Oregon and Idaho are already divided by a state line. The problem is that the location of the state line was decided 161 years ago and is now outdated.”
He added, “The Oregon Washington border was updated in 1958. It’s time to move other borders.”